In June 2017, Africa hosted the world aquaculture conference for the first time in forty-eight years since its inception. This notwithstanding, aquaculture has been gaining momentum in Africa as a strategy of attaining food security and alleviating poverty. Hosting of the aquaculture conference in Cape Town, South Africa was timely as Africa has been plagued by food insecurity which has hindered economic growth. This forum’s focus on aquaculture research thus proved to be an important platform to expound on the important role that aquaculture can play in mitigating the challenge of food insecurity and poverty. Attendees had the opportunity to learn from aquaculture experts such as Dr. Sloans Chimatiro, Tom Hecht, and Dr. Rohana Subasinghe among other experts from the one hundred member countries.
Despite the relative importance of aquaculture, this agricultural strategy has been under-utilized in many African countries. In South Africa, for example, climatic conditions are appropriate for aquaculture. Environmental legislation has however hindered the development of aquaculture in the country. Egypt, on the other hand, has a limited water supply and is in an arid region. Despite this, Egypt’s aquaculture industry is thriving making the country the top producer of aquaculture output in Africa. The conference was, therefore, an important platform for countries to learn from each other’s aquaculture research. It was also a historic moment for Africa as the World aquaculture society launched its African chapter in the forum.
The conference was special not only for shining a spotlight for the continent’s sustainable economic growth but also as the forum where Africa joined the world aquaculture society. The latter is important as it is an indication that Africa acknowledges the role of aquaculture in attaining food security. Arguably, aquaculture had failed to take root in Africa due to several reasons including limited finances. The conference focused on issues of financing. In particular, speakers highlighted investment opportunities in the aquaculture conference. This acts as a catalyst for the adoption of aquaculture in African countries.
The world aquaculture conference in 2017 also worked as a good platform for networking between the industry’s policymakers and entrepreneurs. These stakeholders benefitted from aquaculture research and knowledge possessed by the African peers that had similarities in context in addition to similarities in problems such as constant famine, African countries also have a commendable supply of inland rivers and water sources. This provides a good investment opportunity for fisheries. This aspect was also highlighted during the conference. It is of importance to note that Africa’s focus is towards the attainment of goals in a sustainable manner. The Cape Town conference was, therefore, an important platform to showcase how aquaculture can alleviate poverty and mitigate food security using sustainable strategies.